Text: Colossians 3:1-10
I. Gambling is now rampant in our nation
A. Not too long ago, the only gambling available were raffle tickets, bingo games at the Catholic Church, and casinos in La Vegas, Nevada.
B. No longer! Gambling is everywhere: at the gas station, at the corner market, even at my doorstep.
1. A young man interrupted my supper one night to offer me raffle tickets for some local charitable organization. The raffle was being sponsored by the Omaha Church of Christ! I suspect it was done by the group that is associated with the International Church of Christ.
2. I don’t know which surprised me worse, a group using the name Church of Christ selling raffle tickets or the fact that the young solicitor couldn’t tell me where the Omaha Church of Christ was located.
C. So what harm is there is a little bit of gambling?
II. What do I mean by gambling?
A. Websters: “to play games of chance for money or some other stake; to take a risk in order to gain some advantage; to be, wager; an act of undertaking involving risk of a loss.”
B. This definition is too broad, as it includes risk taking. A better definition is “getting something for nothing without rendering service or exchange of goods.”
C. “A simple definition of gambling would be, desiring the possession or possessions of another (the prize), the gambler creates a risk (that of losing his own possession) in an attempt through chance to gain the possession or possession of another with nothing given in exchange. Gambling takes many forms: card games, dice, numbers, betting, slot machines, sports pools, punch boards, bingo (for money or prizes), raffle tickets, matching, and even pitching pennies”
D. Gambling is a matter of kind, not degree. Whether the wager is 50 cents or 50 dollars, it is still gambling.
III. Why do people gamble?
A. A desire to gain wealth quickly.
1. People get impatient with getting ahead through regular work.
B. A desire for excitement.
1. The risks, suspense, hope, and shock of surprises entertains many people.
C. The instinct of combativeness.
D. Gambling is basically driven by covetousness, laziness, and recklessness.
E. Gambling is also addictive. There are millions of compulsive gamblers in our country (an article in 1996 puts it at 10 million, 1 million being teenagers). In 1996 we had a series of bank robberies in Omaha, which is believed to be done by a man trying to support his gambling habits.
1. Earl Grinois, economist at University of Illinois, “The casino industry is heavily dependent on the revenues of psychologically sick people.” More than half of a casino’s take comes from problem and pathological gamblers.
IV. Why is gambling wrong?
A. God has commanded man to work for his living - Genesis 3:19
1. Paul told the Ephesians to labor with our hands - Ephesians 4:28; I Thessalonians 4:11
2. If we don’t work, we shouldn’t eat - II Thessalonians 3:10-13
3. Gamblers are seeking to win without earning through shear chance.
4. Proverbs 12:11 - Gambling is definitely a frivolity (a vain thing).
B. Gambling is associated with sin
1. Harrison County, Mississippi, saw divorce rates rise from 440 in 1992 to 1,100 in 1993 - the first full year gambling was legalized in the county
2. In the first three years after Atlantic City legalized gambling, it when from 50th to 1st in the nation among cities in per-capita crime. Nevada is always near the top of the list.
3. In the first five years that Deadwood, S.D., legalized gambling serious crime rose 93 percent.
4. In the first three years after Foxwood opened rape, robbery, car theft, and larceny all increase more than 400 percent.
5. Why would government support something that increases crime?
a. Isn’t the complaint already that our jails are full?
b. The answer is money. For example, Maryland collects 61% tax on slot machine revenues.
C. Gambling violates the golden rule
1. Matthew 7:12 - Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
2. A gambler seeks for others to lose, while he wins. Just because others are willing partners does not make it right.
3. This is covetousness! - Luke 12:15
4. How are we doing good to all, when we hope they lose their money? Galatians 6:10
5. Love does no harm to a neighbor - Romans 13:10
D. Gambling creates a false hope
1. You hope you will win - perhaps this next time.
2. The lure of becoming a millionaire overnight is strong. - Ecclesiastes 5:10
3. Yet where is a Christian’s hope suppose to be? - Colossians 3:1-3
E. Gambling is a poor investment
1. Most games of chance return on 30 to 50 percent of every dollar invested.
2. How many of you would place your retirement fund in a place you know will, on average, only return half your money?
How to Win the Lottery by David Olsen
True story for anyone's gambling lesson:
There is a man at the Texas City church of Christ named Marlin Ridenour. He works for the City of Galveston and oversees the water department.
The year the Texas State Lottery commenced in 1991, one of the employees wrote on a whiteboard a little table tracking lottery winnings of employees. Any employee could put their name on the board and track to see who won the most money. Six people signed up and tracked how many tickets they bought. When they won, they added money. When they lost, they subtracted the costs of the ticket.
Marlin put his name up there too. He bought 0 tickets made $0 dollars and lost $0. After about 10 months of tracking ... HE WON!!! With $0.
Finally a guy who was in the negative by about $400 erased the whole board in disgust.
You would think it would have taught everyone a lesson, but it didn't. They still play and he still doesn't. He probably has a net worth more than the other five employees combined.
Lottery = Tax for foolish people
3. Yet many frivolously gamble away their life savings.
4. Governments love it because it is a willing tax from the people. We talk about reducing government, and then freely offer them our livelihood.
5. God expects us to be good stewards of the things he has given us - I Corinthians 4:2
V. How Gambling is Justified
A. Its harmless – we’ve already shown that it is not.
B. Good can come of it
1. This is why gambling is brought in saying, “It will fund our schools,” or some charitable organization is supposed to get a portion of the proceeds
2. I have people claim, “If I win, I’ll give 10% to the Lord!”
3. Saul justified his disobedience by claiming there would be a sacrifice - I Samuel 15:19-22
4. Good doesn’t come from wrong - Romans 3:8
a. Thus a claim of a good result doesn’t prove it was right in the first place.
5. God doesn’t want the money of sinners - Deuteronomy 23:18
C. Other church people drink or use the Lord’s name in vain. They think nothing of it, so what’s so wrong with me gambling?
1. Essentially saying my sin is no worse than your sin
2. The problem is that they are all still sin!