Bible Study for Feb. 17: When Materialism Consumes

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I John 2:12-17 3:16-18
Gregg Potts, lay minister

The American Dream

We hear a lot about the American Dream. The American Dream for most people is a nice car, nice home, the ability to travel some etc… People come to America to live the American dream. 

The American dream is nice, but it’s filled with materialism. It’s about stuff… more and more stuff. Recently Holli and I were in an electronics store. We saw a man and woman walking alongside a large big-screen TV as store employees carried it. 

I remarked “Someone is buying them a nice TV”

Holli said, “Getting ready for the Super Bowl,” and no doubt, that’s exactly what those folks were doing. They were probably planning on having a Super Bowl party so they were purchasing a new big-screen TV/.

There is nothing wrong with nice things. But it is wrong if those things begin to control us and that’s what’s happening in our nation and in our churches. In our lesson this week, John the apostle gives us some direction on this. 

John begins by addressing three groups. 

In verse 12, John says, “I’m writing to you little children…”

In verse 13, John says, “I’m writing to you, fathers.”

Later in that same verse he says, “I am writing to you, young men.”

The body of Christ is made up of children, young men, and fathers in the faith. Regardless of where we are in the faith, John is speaking to us. He says in verse 13, “You have conquered the evil one.” 

This verse refers to the devil or Satan. Satan does not want us to live for Christ. Satan wants us to get wrapped in materialism. But John reminds the “young men” they had “overcome the evil one.” 

This verse is a reminder that Satan wants us to get wrapped in materialism. It is a spiritual battle. Think about it… Do we need all the bells and whistles that are available in cars or electronics today? In many cases, no, we don’t. But Satan convinces us we do. 

So how do we deal with materialism?

We are reminded “not to the love the world or things in the world…” Materialism represents the world. Materialism represents stuff. 

As an example, the storage business is a fairly lucrative business. Why? Because we have so much stuff. Look at our closets. Most of us have enough clothes that we could wear a different item of clothing for thirty days or more. Do we need that many clothes?

There probably aren’t many people that like electronics more than I do. I love them. But, do we need a lot of the electronics we have today? Could we function without them? Sure we could!

We need to be careful that we don’t worship things…

How do we deal with materialism?

I John 3:17 says, “If anyone has this world’s goods and a sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God reside in them? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but action or truth.” 

John is telling us that if we see someone who has a need, we should help meet that need. It may be that we are so consumed with materialism that we neglect those in need. 

Often times I’ve heard people discussing someone who needs help. One person may say, “We need to pray for them.”

I agree that prayer is important. But God want us to be an answer to someone’s prayer. God may want us to help someone…

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