What is wrong with gambling?Acts 19:21-2921 Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit[a] to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!” 22 He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.
The Riot in Ephesus
23 About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way.24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis.(she was otherwise known as Diana) He kept many craftsmen busy.25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:
“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he has done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! 27 Of course, I’m not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I’m also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”
28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia.
We need to know what we believe, and why we believe it.What if someone came to you and said, “What’s wrong with going to the casino, once in a while just to have a little fun?” what would you say about the lotto or betting on soccer game?Paul was always in the middle of the action. For that reason he had to deal with a lot of confrontation.
Whenever Paul preached, there was always either a revival, or a riot! When the Word is preached, people ought to feel something – not so? (Eitherglad, sad or mad)Paul preachedabout Jesus in Ephesus and the people became very mad! Because his preaching damaged the very occupation of these people, who worshipped the false goddess Diana.It is important to know that these people had made a lot of money as a result of their worship of Diana. If you really want to offend someone, talk about their money. Paul’s preaching is hurting their business…selling of statues and shrines to worship Diana…and when people got saved, they rejected these false gods, and stopped buying the statues. Well, a riot started, and about 25000 people filled the local amphitheater in opposition to Paul.Notice the mob mentality in this text:
They had a profit motivev. 24-2524 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis.(she was otherwise known as Diana) He kept many craftsmen busy.25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:
“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. v. 26 they had a propaganda machine26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all.
Demetrius is going to smear Paul’s name, and gather the people against him.Branding him as anextremist, narrow-minded, intolerant, with no respect for their historical beliefs.
And then he calls on their patriotism27 …./ I’m concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”
The big problem in all of this is how he’s leading people to believe in something for all the wrong reasons…mostly from a profit motive.
And he assures them that worshipping Diana is what is important.Today, people don’t worship Diana, no, they worship two different god.The god of chance and of luck is called Meni and the god of money is called Mammonand they are being worshipped disguised as gambling. Anytime you deal with the gambling crowd, and anytime you hear someone try to defend the practice of gambling, you always come up against these same two elements: Profit motivePropaganda machineIt all results in the mob psychology:v. 28-29aI want to say that 2,000 years ago, 25000 people chanting a lie didn’t make it the truth! Today in 2016, millions of people still chant the lie, and it still does not make it true.Many times even Christians would say, “show me a verse in the Bible that prohibits gambling.”” (thou shalt not…….…?)The Bible is not a book of minute laws, it is a book of great and grand principles.For example: you won’t find a scripture that says, “thou shalt not use cocaine” does that make it alright?
Of course not! Biblical principles take care of that.I’m glad the Bible is not a simple list of don’ts, because if it were, it would be so large it would take a freight container to cart it around, and secondly, you can always find loopholes in laws.
Laws are for the immature and for children.The mentality amongst many people today isthey look to see what they can get away with from a Bible’s perspective,
It’s as if they try and walk as close to the line without crossing it?
Or as if to see how close they can dance around that grey area without violating the letter of the law.Mature Christians don’t live like that!What does the Bible say?Gambling is not the same as taking a risk. Not all risks that we taking is gambling. Nowhere does the Bible condemn adventurous, pro-active living. Nowhere does the Bible in principle condemn, all risk taking. You take a risk every time you pull out of your drive way into the street.Every farmer who ever plants a crop takes a risk.
Starting a business is taking a risk.Jesus actually condemned a man for playing it safe, burying his treasure, instead of investing it!
18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money………25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back……27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.?’.’
Investing in the stock market is not the same as gambling.
With gambling you win what someone else lost at gambling.For every winner, there has to be a loser. One person gains what many others lost. With gambling nothing is produced, nothing is created, no goods are produced no work is performednoservices is provided.With stocks…businesses are built, goods are created, services are provided, which in turn creates money to reward everyone involved.But gambling is simply one person trying to get money that belongs to someone else, with no discipline to earn the money.Gambling does not produce it consumes.It creates no new money, and it does not create new goods.An investment on the other hand is made to benefit yourself, as well as others,but abet is just a selfish attempt to benefit yourself.That is where the devil comes with his ever present lie, mixed with truth, to deceive by saying:This will benefit education, this will build roads, etc.No, it’s just another government tax…and the poor become poorer hoping to get lucky. If you want to give to education, why not do it directly?
The Government is saying a percentage goes to the poor, but why do we have this huge welfare problem?
People say “I play the lottery, because the money goes to help the schools” That’s just an excuse, why don’t you give it to them directly?Who do you see standing in the long ques at the Lotto machines?The poor that do not have money, they gamble the little that they have away instead of buying a loaf of bread.
Legalized gambling, including the lottery, is actuallyjust a tax system that preys upon the poor people that can least afford it!George Washington said, “Gambling is the child of greed and materialism, the brother of evil, and the father of trouble.”1. Gambling contradicts God’s honesty principleEx. 20:1515 “You must not steal”.Gambling breaks the spirit of that command, because gambling is robbery by mutual consent… money just changes hands, not as a gift, no, with gambling nothing is given back in exchange.Just because both parties agree, doesn’t make it right. It just shows that they BOTH havegreedin their heart.Illustration.—Twomen walk into a dark alley, one has a gun,one walks out with the other man’s money…or one man walks in without a gun but with a pair of dice, and walks out with the other man’s money!What’s the difference? In the first case one man was a thief, In the Second case, there were two thieves! Because both men wanted to take what rightfully belonged to the other man.Exodus 20:1717 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”The man who gambles and wins is a thief.The man who gambles and loses is a fool!2. Gambling contradicts God’s love principleMatthew 22:37
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”Love for God and love for your neighbor.Nothing violates that commandment more than gambling. Gambling is love your neighbor while you’re trying to get what belongs to him. Gambling is pleasure & profit at the cost of another mam’s pain and loss
3. Gambling contradicts God’s work principleIn the Bible, honest work and wages always go togetherhand in hand. The Bible does not support getting something for nothing.2 Thessalonians 3:1010 … “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”God’s divine welfare program!People used to say “I want to work,just give me an opportunity”…now they say “Oh God, just give me the right 6 numbers!” but then they add to it “God I’ll give most of it to the church!”It’s like saying “God if you give to me then I’ll give to you”Gambling produces no wealth, it simply redistributes it from the many to the few.
People think that legalized gambling will be a revenue raiser, that’s an illusion. Because for every Rand raised from gambling 5 Randis spent in higher police costs, court costs, Correctional services costs, relief costs.”Gauteng is the gambling capital of SA, and the crime rate is twice the national average, and the suicide rate three times! Social costs far outweigh any economic advantage.”Do you know that the busiest weekday day of the month at Monti Casino is the day when the pensioners get payed out !4. Gambling contradicts God’s Stewardship principle.What percentage of your money actually belongs to God? Some think 10%, but it’s actually100%.Good stewardship says, don’t flush God’s money down the toilet.Don’t throw it out the window. That would be wrong!
So is gambling with God’s money. (If you heard that the church was doing that, you’d cry out!) “That’s God’s money”!Some Christians will say, “Man it’s just entertainment.”We go with a certain amount of money, and when it’s gone, it’s gone” Yes, it’s gone…God’s money is gone, and you’re held responsible even though you don’t know who ends up with His money, and what they do with it!Why not admit you are motivated by greed and covetousness? Trying to get something for nothingProverbs 13:11 says11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.5. Gambling contradicts God’s Trust principleOnly Christians will care about this one. Gambling strikes at the root of our belief in an all-wise God who provides for the needs of His people.One of our greatest privileges as believers, is knowing we serve a God who cares!Who has promised to meet our needs! We don’t have to depend upon luck. No we say Lord, I’m depending upon you!Some of the saddest faces you’ll ever see are in the casinos.Some Christians justify it as just good, clean fun…not according to the sad faces inside!Even rare winners cannot help but play away their winnings, and more!Illustration— Grandma at the Casino wonR100 on her first tryat the slot machine, she carries on by putting it all back one rand at a time plus she put in R200 more!6. Gambling contradicts God’s Danger principleProverbs 6:27
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lapand not have his clothes catch on fire?No alcoholic ever planned on becoming addicted when he took his first drink.No rapist planned on doing that …when he first looked at pornNo gambler planned on becoming enslaved withwhen inserting that first coin in the slotStatistics show that more than 8% of those who say they gambled the first time just for fun, became compulsive gamblers.Of that 8%… 22% will get divorcedOf that 22%…85% will steal from employer to pay debts
Of that 85%… 79% will say they wish they were dead
And of that 79%….17% will attempt suicide.27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
Of two things you can be sure : (no risk involved!)1. You can be sure that your sin will find you out (God has a way of bringing things out into the open, for the protection of His church!)2. You can be sure that if you call upon the name of the Lord, you WILL be saved!
Gambling – Is it a sin?
The subject of gambling is multi-faceted and something that can divide Christians. On the one hand, there are those who argue that it is only a game and, like anything else (eating, drinking, etc.), it is acceptable as long as it does not become controlling or addictive. On the other hand are believers who argue that gambling on any level is morally wrong.
Which side is correct?Giving an adequate answer to the dilemma first requires a biblical review of money in general, after which gambling itself can be examined.Where money is concerned, the Bible certainly is not silent. To begin with, Scripture makes it clear that everything belongs to God. Paul simply asks his readers, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Even though individuals work and earn money, the Bible says that it is God who is the ultimate source of their income: “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).The Bible also says that we should ultimately trust in God and not get-rich-quick schemes that promise wealth: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).Scripture also makes it clear that money is to be gained through work and labor: “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23), and “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).Further, the Bible warns against debt and owing any creditor large amounts of money: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), and “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).In fact, Scripture promotes the opposite of debt– saving money vs. becoming a debtor: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).Finally, the Bible promotes a generous and willing heart to share what financial resources a person has gained through his labor: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:25). Jesus simply said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).These principles explain the core truths in God’s Word. Money itself is not evil, but the passion for it is, according to Paul: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).Like Paul, Jesus – in His parable about the sower – also warned how the desire for money can thwart the pursuit of true riches: “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).Once we understand the above biblical truths on money , a position on gambling is much easier to reach. Today, gambling takes a variety of forms: lotteries, casinos, sports betting, quick-stop gaming stands (video poker, etc.), and perhaps the most prevalent type today, online or internet gambling.Gambling itself has been around for a very long time, and universally, the Church has taken a dim view of it. For example, an early second century sermon preached in a North African church contained the following description of gambling: “The game of dice is an obvious snare of the devil. He presides over the game in person, bringing to it the deadly venom of the serpent and even inducing ruin which when it is seen to be nothing, a great let down is brought about in the players.”Down through history, key figures in Christianity have also held an unfavorable view of gambling. Augustine said, “The devil invented gambling.” Martin Luther proclaimed, “Money won by gambling is not won without sin and self-seeking sin.” John Calvin outlawed gambling in the city of Geneva.But why did these men and others in the Church reject gambling – why did they believe gambling to be sinful? First, gambling betrays the following internal attitudes:• Materialism• Greed• Discontent• Reliance on chance vs. reliance on God’s providence• Exploitation• Laziness vs. working• Thwarting of charity• Seeking to gain from the loss of othersSecond, from a philosophical perspective, gambling shows itself to be devoid of value and worth. Philosophically speaking, the nature of any “thing” can be known by the effects it produces. From an internal, personal standpoint, the attributes above show that gambling results in very poor personal effects. Externally, gambling shows itself to be no better, producing the following effects:• Addiction• Poverty• Crime• Dishonesty• Family strife and divorce• Escape into alcoholism• Exploitation of the poorWhen both its external and internal effects are examined, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that gambling demonstrates itself to be spiritually bankrupt.In the Old Testament, God specifically warned about the spirit behind gambling when He said, “But you who forsake the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter, because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in ” (Isaiah 65:11-12).The phrase “set a table” means “to bring food to an idol.” The Hebrew word for “Destiny” comes from the Hebrew wordMeni, and it means “luck.” Israel was literally worshipping the gods of luck and fortune and trusting them for their needs, rather than worshipping and trusting God.This is what people do today who immerse themselves in gambling. And because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, it is foolish thinking to believe His views on the matter have changed.“What does the Bible say about playing the lottery?”The word gamble means “to risk something of value on an outcome which depends on chance.”Because the outcome of a lottery “depends on chance” and playing it involves “risk,” then, by definition, playing the lottery is gambling.The Bible does not specifically mentiongambling, though it does mention the casting of lots for the purpose of decision making (Joshua 18:10). AndProverbs 16:33emphasizes the sovereignty of God: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”However, the main purpose of playing the lottery is to win money, and the Bible tells us what our attitude toward money should be. So often, riches get in the way of a man’s spiritual benefit (Mark 4:1910:25). Jesus teaches, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13).First Timothy 6:10is where we find the famous warning that the love of money is theroot of all evil.Playing the lottery as a get-rich-quick scheme is statistically futile, and, the fact is, God wants people to work hard: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We ought to gain wealth through diligence, as a gift from the Lord: “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4).Additionally, not only do gamblers typically covet money, but they also covet the things that money can buy. God forbids covetousness: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17; see also1 Timothy 6:10). Money is not the answer to life’s problems.So, we would do well to be cautious about playing the lottery. There are probably many better uses for the money spent on a ticket, and we must guard against addictions to gaming. Buying a lottery ticket here and there may not be a sin, but greed is. Those playing the lottery must prayerfully examine their motives and, if they continue playing, do so responsibly and only in moderation.
“Is gambling a sin? What does the Bible say about gambling?”The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery. The Bible does warn us, however, to stay away from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Gambling most definitely is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches.What is wrong with gambling? Gambling is a difficult issue because if it is done in moderation and only on occasion, it is a waste of money, but it is not necessarily evil. People waste money on all sorts of activities. Gambling is no more or less of a waste of money than seeing a movie (in many cases), eating an unnecessarily expensive meal, or purchasing a worthless item. At the same time, the fact that money is wasted on other things does not justify gambling. Money should not be wasted. Excess money should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord’s work, not gambled away.While the Bible does not explicitly mention gambling, it does mention events of “luck” or “chance.” As an example, casting lots is used in Leviticus to choose between the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. Joshua cast lots to determine the allotment of land to the various tribes. Nehemiah cast lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem. The apostles cast lots to determine the replacement for Judas. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”What would the Bible say about casinos and lotteries? Casinos use all sorts of marketing schemes to entice gamblers to risk as much money as possible. They often offer inexpensive or even free alcohol, which encourages drunkenness, and thereby a decreased ability to make wise decisions. Everything in a casino is perfectly rigged for taking money in large sums and giving nothing in return, except for fleeting and empty pleasures. Lotteries attempt to portray themselves as a way to fund education and/or social programs. However, studies show that lottery participants are usually those who can least afford to be spending money on lottery tickets. The allure of “getting rich quick” is too great a temptation to resist for those who are desperate. The chances of winning are infinitesimal, which results in many peoples’ lives being ruined.Can lotto/lottery proceeds please God? Many people claim to be playing the lottery or gambling so that they can give the money to the church or to some other good cause. While this may be a good motive, reality is that few use gambling winnings for godly purposes. Studies show that the vast majority of lottery winners are in an even worse financial situation a few years after winning a jackpot than they were before. Few, if any, truly give the money to a good cause. Further, God does not need our money to fund His mission in the world. Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means. Would God be honored by receiving donated drug money or money stolen in a bank robbery? Of course not. Neither does God need or want money that was “stolen” from the poor in the temptation for riches.First Timothy 6:10 tells us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Hebrews 13:5 declares, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Matthew 6:24 proclaims, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”