‘But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ Luke 22:48
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6–10
I do solemnly believe, that of all hypocrites, those are the persons of whom there is the least hope whose god is their money. You may reclaim a fallen Christian, who has given way to vice, may loathe his lust, and return from it; but I fear that the cases in which a man who is cankered with covetousness has ever been saved, are so few that they might be written on your finger nail. This is a sin which the world does not rebuke. God knows what thunders I have launched out against men who are all for this world, and yet pretend to be Christ’s followers; but they always say, ‘It is not for me.’ What I should call stark naked covetousness, they call prudence, discretion, economy, and so on; and actions which I would scorn to spit upon they will do, and think their hands quite clean after they have done them, and still sit as God’s people sit, and hear as God’s people hear, and think that after they have sold Christ for paltry gain, they will go to heaven. O souls, beware most of all of greed! It is not money, nor the lack of money, but the love of money which is the root of all evil. It is not getting it; it is not even keeping it; it is loving it; it is making it your god; it is looking at that as the main chance, and not considering the cause of Christ, nor the truth of Christ, nor the holy life of Christ, but being ready to sacrifice everything for gains’ sake. O such men make giants in sin; their damnation shall be sure and just.
For meditation: Covetousness usually appears in the New Testament’s lists of scandalous behaviour (Mark 7:22; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:10–11; 6:10; Ephesians 5:3,5; Colossians 3:5; 2 Timothy 3:2). Beware of it (Luke 12:15). Judas didn’t. His response to missing out on a small fortune (John 12:3–6) was to betray the Lord Jesus Christ for financial gain (Matthew 26:6–16); it proved to be his own ruin (Matthew 27:3–5; 1 Timothy 6:9). ‘Thou shalt not covet’ (Exodus 20:17).
Sermon no. 494
15 February (1863)