TTATT-5 - The Truth About Gambling
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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TRUTH
In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the apostle Paul said, “All things are lawful for me,
but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be
brought under the power of any.”
Welcome to our study of the truth about gambling. What do the
Scriptures teach about the subject of gambling? Is it okay to go down to the
local casino or gambling hall and gamble, play the slots, and play the
lottery? What does the Bible say for Christians about things related to
What exactly is gambling? How do we define gambling? Gambling is
defined as a game of luck or chance where money or something of equal
value is either gained or lost at others expense. Gambling requires three
things. You have luck or chance, not skill, not work; just pure luck or
chance. Then you've got something that is exchanged, gained, or lost,
money or something of value. Then you have something gained or lost at
others’ expense: what you win somebody else loses, what you lose
somebody else wins. It is taking from others’ losses to have your winnings.
It's a game of luck or chance where you're basically taking others' losses
for one's profit.
Realize that gambling is a serious problem in the United States of
America. Did you know that there are at least 12 million Americans who are
compulsive gamblers? Gamblers Anonymous reports that there are at least
12 million compulsive gamblers. It is a serious addiction and problem in the
United States of America. In fact, Dallas Morning News reported that the
average compulsive gambler has debts exceeding $80,000. Can't we see
that gambling in and of it statistically does not pay off?
The chance of actually winning is very low. For example, the chances
of winning Megabucks Lottery are one in 49,836,032. The odds of winning
the Texas Match 5+ are one in 47 million. Those are astronomical figures; if
I said you've got a one in 50 million chance those aren’t very good
chances. Did you know that your chance of getting struck by lightning is
seven times greater than it is winning $1 million in the state lottery?
Gambling is also associated with other problems and moral issues in life.
Did you know that crime rates in casino communities are 84% higher than
the national average? People are addicted to gambling, and when you get
addicted to it, you have to get the money to feed that addiction, and so one
may steal from others.
There is more money spent on gambling than on elementary and
secondary education in United States of America. Did you know that
Americans gamble more money each year than they spend on groceries?
More money is thrown away than people actually spend on groceries for
their families in United States of America. Now those are the statistics
those things help us to see it is a problem, the odds are not very good, and
other problems are compounded by gambling.
What does the Bible say? “Is there any word from the Lord?”
Jeremiah 37:17. “What does the Scripture say?” Romans 4:3, on this
subject? Realize there is no authority for gambling in the Bible. We
shouldn’t come to the Scripture and say well the Bible doesn't say it's
wrong, therefore I can do it. That's not the way we approach it. If we take
that approach, a whole lot of things will be licensed that are not right in the
Bible; not right morally.
For example, where in the Bible does it say do not inject heroin into
your arms? You read your Bible and you can't find that, but does God tell
us to take care of the body? Does God tell us not to be drunk? Does God
tell us what he wants us to do? I shouldn’t approach the Bible saying well
let's go to it and see if God condemns it, that's the reverse problem. We
need to say, where does God authorize it? Where in the Bible does God
approve of the action of gambling for the Christian? Where's the Scripture
that says it's okay, it is good for a Christian to gamble? The main problem
is God doesn't authorize it. There's no authority for gambling in the Bible.
Must a Christian have authority for everything he does in life?
Absolutely, Colossians 3:17, the Bible says, “Whatever you do in word or in
deed, do all in the name the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father
through Him.” We approach the Bible, and we see that we are told
whatever we do, and then he specifies that, word or deed. I'm to do all in
the name of, Acts 4:7, which means by the authority of Jesus. Therefore,
where's the authority for gambling? Where's the passage that says it’s
acceptable? Where does God teach in Scripture that is an authorized way
to make money, to gain profit, to live? You just don't find that in the Bible.
God never permits Christians to gamble.
Realize that gambling is just not good stewardship. I'm to be up a
good steward of that which God's given me and blessed me with. I'm to
make sure that I do my best to give back and do good things in my
community. In Luke 12:42, Jesus says, “And the Lord said, “Who then is
that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make him ruler over his
household, to give them the portion of their food in due season?” Who’s
that faithful and wise steward? I’m to be a good steward, 1 Peter 4:10.
What's a steward? A steward is a manager of something God's given him.
If I’m to be a good steward, to use it wisely, to do good things, and to help
others, does that fit with the idea of gambling? I'm to be a good steward of
my money. What God has blessed me with I’m to use wisely, I am to do
good, I'm to help Him, to take care my family, I'm to give back to God, 1
Corinthians 16:1-2. Is gambling being a good steward of your money? Your
chances are slim to none of winning. How could you be a good steward by
basically throwing that money away?
I'm to be a good steward of my talents and my time. If one is
consuming his talents in his time with things such as gambling am I really
using those things to the glory and the honor of my God? We must let
those things stay at the forefront that God wants us to be good stewards
and gambling does not make me a good steward.
What else is wrong with the subject of gambling? Jesus said in
Matthew 7:12, “Therefore whatever you want men to do, you do also to
them, for this is the law and the prophets.” We've labeled it as the Golden
Rule. Whatever I want somebody to do to me, I would do to them. Would
you want somebody to beat you out of your paycheck? Would you want
somebody to win your mortgage payment or your grocery money? Would
you want somebody to take the money that you will you feed your kids
with? Would you want somebody to win those things from you? Of course
not. I work hard for my money; you worked hard for yours. I want to use it
to the best of my ability, and I don't want somebody doing that to me.
Therefore I must not do that to someone else. What I win, what somebody
wins at the gambling tables; a whole host of people are losing. And
mortgage payments, car payments, children are not being fed; there's a
whole Domino Effect to that.
Combine this with this idea, a lawyer came to Jesus, and he asked
Him the question, “Good teacher what's the greatest commandment?”
Jesus responded by saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Then Jesus followed up by saying, “And
the second like unto it is, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If I take
my neighbor’s money, if I went over and stole from my neighbor, took his
wallet, took his money out of it, would I be following that command? If I go
to the gambling table and all in the name of fun take his mortgage payment,
take his money, am I really loving my neighbor like a ought to love them?
It's really not loving and following the Golden Rule like the Bible teaches us
that we ought to do.
Another reason gambling violates the Scriptures is it causes one to
be addicted to something God has not told us to be addicted to. In 2001
Minnesota Department of Mental Health reported this, gross revenues from
gambling were 68.7 billion, more money than Americans spent on music,
movies, spectator sports, video games, and theme parks combined. There
is an addiction in that. The National Council of Problem Gambling reported
in March 2003 that over 80% of US adults have reported gambling at least
once in the past year. National Institute of Mental Health concluded there
are 4.2 million Americans who were addicted to gambling 60% of whom
have yearly incomes under $25,000. Here you've got people living below
poverty level going out and trying to gamble. What is gambling? Someone
once rightly said, gambling is a tax on the poor. That’s really what it comes
down to, people who can't afford it try to find an easy way out, looking
maybe to have that dream come true, and they’re spending money they
may not have. They’re involved in an addiction which is not right and not
according to the Scripture.
What does the Scripture teach about the idea of addiction? 1
Corinthians 6:12, the apostle Paul said, “All things are lawful for me all, not
all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought
under the power of any.” Should a Christian be addicted to certain things?
Whether it is drugs, whether it is alcohol, whether it is tobacco, whether be
pornography, whether be gambling, should I let that rule and have power
over me? Absolutely not. It causes an addiction. Galatians 5:23, the Bible
teaches us of the fruits of the spirit. One of those is self-control. 2 Peter 1:6,
I’m to add to my faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control. If I have a gambling
problem, we’ve already shown that a host of people do, I don't have the
self-control that God wants me to. I am actually under the power of
gambling. What I think about, the actions that I do when I go to my job; my
family suffers because of it. Gambling causes one to have an unholy or
ungodly or addiction to those things.
Now is a Christian to be under something? You bet he is. Under the
power of Christ. Romans 6:17-18, “God be thanked that though you were
the slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine, which
we’re delivered, and having been set free from sin, we became slaves,
servants of Christ.” I'm under the power of Christ, He has authority over my
life, He is the one who ought to be in control, and therefore I need to let
Him and His word lead me in these types of actions.
Could gambling ruin my Christian example? Now let me just mention
it to you this way. Let's say that the town in which you live has a huge
casino right by the main road, has a huge casino, big flashing lights; money
signs flickering everywhere. You drive by that, and you see me or you see
your local preacher coming out of there. What would you say? What a great
example, look at him. He's following Christ. What a great example he's
being. Let's all go follow him now. No, I doubt that's what you'd say. You’d
wonder what's the preacher coming out of the casino for, what's he doing in
the gambling hall? I thought that wasn't something we should do. Well can
it ruin just a Christian’s example? The Bible teaches, 2 Corinthians 6:17-18,
the Christian should not be in the world. God says, “Come out from among
them, and be ye separate,” says Lord, “I’ll be your God; you shall be my
people.” I am to come out of the world, not be like the world. Jesus said in
Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your
good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” You see somebody
coming out of the casino, the gambling hall; you don't say what a great light
he's being for the Lord. No that’s probably not what you're thinking. 1
Timothy 4:12, Paul told Timothy, “Be an example to the believers in word,
in conduct, in love, in faith, in spirit and in purity.”
Whether it is drinking, whether it is drugs, whether it is revelry, I’m to
abstain from that those things. I'm to be an example in everything I do. 1
Thessalonians 5:22, the Bible says, “Abstain from every appearance of
evil.” The gambling hall, the casino the things that go on there, would you
associate that with holiness and God? Or would you associate that with
evil, sin, and the devil? We realize it’d be associated with that which is evil.
I am to abstain from every form or appearance of evil, therefore I shouldn't
allow my Christian example be marred by going to places and participating
in things like unto that.
Christians should not gamble because it has the potential to lead to
dishonesty and deceit. A U.S. News & World Report analysis found crime
rates in cities where there were casinos were 84% higher. There is a moral
sin problem that goes along with that. Focus on the Family reports an
extreme example, where a church secretary stole $186,000 from the
church to fund her lottery obsession. Does it cause problems? Can it lead
to dishonesty and deceit? Does it lead to other problems, crime, stealing,
theft, drugs? You bet it does. We've all seen this, we know this. There are
cities that like Las Vegas that have to deal with this day and night. The
homeless, the poor, the sick, those who think they’re going to hit it big in
gambling, that’s not God's way.
How does God teach us to make money if gambling is not right?
We’re to have authority for all that we do. A Christian can make money in
one of three ways. I can make money by working for it. 2 Thessalonians
3:10, “If a man won't work, neither shall he eat.” How do you eat, how do
you make money? By working; good, old-fashioned, hard labor and work is
how one earns a living. The Bible teaches that a Christian can also make
money by selling lands or goods and trading or selling that for money. Acts
4:34, Ananias and Sapphira had land, they sold it, and they made money
off of it. They didn't do the right thing with that. Barnabas had land. He sold
it, and laid the money at the apostles’ feet. One is authorized to sell land or
goods and make money off of that as well.
A Christian could trade something for money or other goods. Genesis
34:10, there was the trading that went on there between the early
patriarchs, where they traded cattle, land, and goods for money or other
goods. Let's say that somebody had some land and they needed
something else whether it was cattle or goods or a home, whatever it may
be, an equal trade would also be authorized in the Bible. You could work
for it, you can sell land, you can trade for something of value, but what you
don't find in the Scriptures, as it relates to gambling is it's never an
authorized way to make money to earn a living. That's not authorized by
I want to emphasize to you the great damage gambling can do to
families. Gambling has been shown time and time again to destroy the
family. In Illinois a review of the state's gaming records reveal that in a
fourteen month period, seventy-two children were found abandoned on
gambling premises. What would make somebody abandon their child at a
casino? An addiction. In Louisiana and South Carolina children actually
died after being locked in hot cars for hours while their caretakers gamble.
An Illinois mother was sentenced to prison for suffocating her infant
daughter in order to collect insurance money for gambling. In gambling
communities, spousal abuse and divorce rates skyrocket. Think about
marriages that have suffered because finances were in shambles over
gambling; think about children, homes, mortgage payments, cars. All was
lost, because somebody had an addiction. How that naturally affects the
How does one overcome or prevent a gambling problem? Realize
this; Ed McMahon probably is just not coming. The pie-in-the-sky,
Publishers Clearing House, dream: buy a lottery ticket and I’m going to win
$1 million, the chances of that are so slim that I need to just get rid of that
idea. I'm paying something; I’m not going to receive. It's a dream; it's not
going to win. I need to do away with that very idea that that's how I can
exist and survive and hit it big. Realize this; if you're a Christian in this life,
you have treasure beyond measure. As a child of God I have heaven as my
home, I have God's family as my family, I have the riches of all spiritual
blessings in Christ, I've got more now as a Christian than I could ever have
if I even won the lottery.
Learn to be content with what you have. 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Paul said
to Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain, we brought nothing
into this world, it's certain we can take nothing out, having food and clothing
be content with these.” Learn to be content. You know if you can learn to
be content you can be happy in whatever state you're in as long as you're a
Christian and you have Christ and your sins have been forgiven by the
blood of Jesus. A lot of problem is, people don't have that, and they've yet
to learn what true contentment is all about. We ask you today, have you
obeyed the gospel? Are you a Christian? If maybe you've been searching
for something to fill that void, I can promise you Christ can do that. You can
be complete in Christ, Colossians 2:9-10.
Have you heard the message of this book, that Jesus is the son of
God? Do you believe that with all your heart? Are willing to change your life
and repent? Would you confess His name before men? Would you do what
Jesus said? “He that believes and is baptized will be saved,” Mark 16:16.
Let's not be addicted to gambling, let's turn our lives over to Christ, and live
every day for Him.
Study Questions for: “Truth Series: Gambling”
1. According to 1 Corinthians 6:12, are all things helpful?
2. 1 Corinthians 6:12 tell us we shall not be brought under what?
3. How should we do things according to Colossians 3:17?
4. What doe s1 Peter 4:10 tell us to do?
5. How are we to treat others according to Matthew 7:12?
6. What fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:23) is not being followed when we
allow something like gambling to consume our life?
7. Who are we to be servants of according to Romans 6:17-18?
8. According to 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, are we to fit in with this world?
9. What are we to show men according to Matthew 5:16?
10. According to 1 Timothy 4:12, what are we to be?