Chapter Twenty — Part Fourteen: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 11/27/2022Foundation Scripture:
1. Silver and Gold.
a. Paul is saying a final goodbye to the Ephesian leadership, commending them into the Lord’s care.
b. He continues instructing them on how to conduct themselves, using his own conduct as their example.
c. Acts 20:33 NKJV — I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
d. Coveted (Greek epithymeō) – to desire; covet; lust; lust after; to have a desire for; to set the heart upon; to long for (rightfully or otherwise); to lust after, or desire, or seek things that are forbidden.
e. Paul did not covet or lust after their material possessions, nor expect them to meet his needs.
f. He trusted in God to provide for him all that he needed.
g. He came to love them, serve them, minister to them, and meet their spiritual needs.
h. And even to unselfishly sacrifice himself for them—as he had learned from the example of Jesus.
a. Jesus taught us about faithfulness—trustworthiness (Luke 16:10-13).
b. To be faithful and honest in little things and in big things.
c. To be faithful and honest with that which belongs to another person.
d. To be faithful and honest in the case of unrighteous mammon—deceitful riches, money, possessions.
e. If we cannot be trusted in these things, then neither can God entrust to us the true riches of the anointing and of ministry responsibility.
f. No one can serve two masters—you cannot serve both God and mammon—riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely.
g. The sons of the prophet, Samuel, perverted justice because they did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain and took bribes (1 Sam. 8:3).
h. It cannot be emphasized enough: We must be able to minister with a clear conscience—unselfishly, and not for the money or other base motives.
i. Peter tells ministers to tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is their responsibility.
j. Not by coercion or constraint, but willingly—not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits that may belong to the office, but eagerly and cheerfully (1 Pet. 5:2).
3. Above Reproach.
a. 1 Timothy 3:8-9 NKJV — Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
b. A spiritual leader must not be given to filthy lucre, not grasping or greedy for money, or motivated by financial gain.
c. Lucre (Greek aischrokerdēs) — greedy of filthy lucre; given to filthy lucre; eager for base gain: greedy for money.
d. A minister of the Gospel must be above reproach in both natural and spiritual things, so that they can minister with a clear conscience (1 Tim. 3:8-10).
e. We must especially be blameless and above reproach, concerning money and possessions.
f. Not a drunkard nor greedy for money and possessions—not craving wealth nor resorting to ignoble and dishonest methods of acquiring it—but rather, being hospitable and lovers of what is good (Titus 1:7-9).
4. Love Gives.
a. Paul did not covet their goods.
b. The tenth commandment, given by God through Moses, was “Thou shalt not covet.”
c. God’s people were commanded to not covet or desire their neighbor’s wife; nor lust after any of their house, animals, or possessions (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21).
d. Jesus gave us two new commandments that fulfill all the others—love God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 29:31).
e. Romans 13:8-10 NKJV — Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
f. When you love, you give, rather than take.
g. When you love, you serve with cheerfulness.
h. When you love, you neither defraud nor take advantage of anyone.
i. 1 Corinthians 6:7-8 AMPC — Why, the very fact of your having lawsuits with one another at all is a defect (a defeat, an evidence of positive moral loss for you). Why not rather let yourselves suffer wrong and be deprived of what is your due? Why not rather be cheated (defrauded and robbed)? 8 But [instead it is you] yourselves who wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren [by so treating them]!
j. Paul admonishes us not to squabble over money or take a brother to court.
k. We should be willing rather to take a loss than to fight over money or to defraud a fellow believer financially.
l. We were selfish sinners once, but now we are saved and sanctified generous givers.
m. Among other things, neither cheats, nor swindlers and thieves, nor greedy graspers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10).
5. Heavenly Supply.
a. Hebrews 13:5 AMPC — Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
b. If we want to live an overcoming life, every one of us must get the blessed revelation that God—not man—is our source and supply.