Is It Wrong To Be Rich?

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning and evening, June 24, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. (Preaching on money is not my favorite topic, but we had one lady and three children make public professions of faith, and one man join by statement; I may start preaching on money more often!)


By Michael D. O’Neal                            Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Text: Ecclesiastes 5:12

Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Introduction: One of the main concerns of any society is MONEY. One of the foundations of our type of economic government is the freedom to earn and spend money as we please. It is what we call capitalism.

Elections in our country are often won or lost based upon the current ability of people to obtain money or upon a promise about money.

Christians should know what the Bible says about money. The Bible uses the word “rich” in 80 verses; “riches” in 95; “richer” in one; “treasure” in 35;
“treasures” in 55; “treasurer” in two; “treasury” in eight; “money” in 123; and “wealth” in 27. That is, without looking at other references to other
forms of these words, and verses that mention gold, silver, precious stones, etc. we find a total of 426 verses in the Bible that mention RICHES!

426! Do you know that there are over four times as many verses in the Bible that mention RICHES as mention BAPTISM? Do you know that there is only ONE verse in the Bible that uses the words, “Lord’s supper?” Do you know that there are nearly four times as many verses in the Bible that refer to RICHES as there are verses that contain the words, “church,” or “churches”?

MONEY must be pretty important. It’s important to YOU, obviously. Some of you moved to this town because of MONEY. Some of you will leave this town because of MONEY. Some of you miss church services in order to make MONEY.

Not only is it important to you, but how we earn it, spend it, and regard money is important to GOD. Today I want us to look at what the Bible says
about riches. This could really be a series of sermons, but we’ll just get a bird’s eye view of the subject.

I realize that our church doesn’t attract many people whom WE would call “rich.” However, the truth is that rich is a relative term, and that many
people of this world would regard us as rich. This brings me to the first point I want to make about:


2 Samuel 12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

Psalms 49:1-2  Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: 2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

A. In countries

  • Some countries are richer than others.

B. In character

  • Psalms 73:12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
  • Some of the richest people in this world are some of the most wicked people.
  • Likewise, some people, although relatively very few, are rich and have excellent character.
  • Job, Abraham, David, and Solomon were just some of the rich men of the Bible who loved God.

C. In Christians

  • Some Christians have far more money than do others.
  • Those who have more money should not despise those who have less.
  • Those who have less money should not despise those who have more.


Proverbs 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

The obvious power of riches is that you can get people to do almost anything that you want them to do if you have enough money. However, there are additional powers:

A. The power to show charity

  • One of the purposes of working is to make enough money to help others.
  • Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

B. The power to support the church

  • Any saved person who does not give tithes (10 percent) and offerings to his church off of his paycheck is a thief, according to the Bible:
  • Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

C. The power to send Christian missionaries to the foreign field

  • A prosperous nation should be one that is a center for sending forth missionaries.


Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and

A. The pursuit of riches is bad

  • Notice that it is condemned in the above verses.
  • BEING rich is not wrong, but WANTING to be rich is wrong.
  • Loving money, not having money, is sinful:
  • 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

B. The pursuit of riches is binding

  • This is true of all sins.
  • Some people live their final days, stingy, as if they are going to be able to take their money with them.

C. The pursuit of riches is bending

  • 1 Timothy 6:10 says that it can cause someone to err from the faith.
  • It can cause a Christian to miss church, to not give tithes and offerings, and to get out of fellowship with God.


1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Having riches is not sinful. Some of the holiest men of the Bible were rich men. However, the danger is in

1. Being FOND of riches and
2. Having FAITH in riches

A. Riches can deceive you

  • They are not the most important thing in the world to obtain.
  • Psalms 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
  • They can’t help you at death:
  • Psalms 49:6-9 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8 (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) 9 That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

B. Riches can draw you

  • Psalms 62:10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

C. Riches can distract you

  • Many Christians are not able to become church workers because they are too busy trying to make money.
  • Many Christians are unable to be good fathers, husbands,  mothers, and wives, because they are too busy trying to make money.

D. Riches can defile you

  • When a person is too stingy to tithe, he becomes a thief.
  • A person can learn to be dishonest in order to increase his riches.


Proverbs 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Your riches can be lost through

A. Devaluation

  • Whatever you own: land, gold, stock, or whatever, can lose its value.

B. Disaster

  • Medical disaster
  • Family disaster – imprisonment,

C. Dishonesty and theft

D. Death


1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

A. To Exalt the Savior

  • Not only should we glorify God by tithing and giving offerings, but we should  realize that we should glorify God in the way we use ALL the  money that He allows us to have.

B. To Evangelize the Sinner

  • It takes money to get out the gospel.

C. To Edify The Saint

  • It takes money to build a local church.

D. To Enjoy

  • 1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded,  nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who    giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
  • 2. Psalms 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.


Proverbs 8:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

There are riches that are superior to the riches of this world. The Bible says that the price of a virtuous woman is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).  God’s word also says that the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price (1 Pet. 3:4).

The riches of this world pass away, but the Bible speaks of “durable riches.” In Christ, a believer can have

A. The Jewel of Justification by Faith

B. The Gem of God’s Goodness

C. The Pearl of His Peace

D. The Diamond of Deliverance

E. The Gold of Good Works

  • After you are saved, if God allows you to have riches,  you should be ready to give them away and to be rich in good works:
  • 1 Timothy 6:17-18 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who  giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
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